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Parramatta Eels v Penrith Panthers

Saturday, April 22, 3pm (AEST), ANZ Stadium, Sydney

The Panthers were pre-season competition favourites and will desperate to get the victory in the Western Sydney Derby after making a disappointing 2-5 start to the season. Meanwhile, the Eels (3-4) have hardly set the world on fire and were lucky to get the win over the Tigers last week. Bryce Cartwright has been named in the Panthers squad and could finally make his long-awaited return. Peni Terepo is out for the Eels and has been replaced by Kenny Edwards.
The Panthers won both editions of the Western Sydney Derby in 2016. The Panthers got out of jail 20-18 in the Round 5 clash, with Bryce Cartwright scoring two tries and the match-winner, while the Chocolate Soldiers got the job done again in Round 19 by 22-18. Cartwright scored a try in this fixture as well.
Parramatta ended a four-game losing streak with an unconvincing 26-22 win over the Wests Tigers. The Eels have conceded 20 points in each of their last five matches. Parramatta are up to 10th on the ladder with a 3-4 record. Penrith are in all sorts with three straight losses. Their only win in their last five was a 40-0 pumping at home of Newcastle. The Panthers have been kept to 6 points or fewer in two of their last three while they have defeated only the Tigers on the road. They are anchored in 12th position with a 2-5 record.
Key Matchup
Clint Gutherson v Matt Moylan. Gutherson had an outstanding game against the Tigers last week, setting up two tries and has made the No.1 jersey his own while Bevan French remains on the sidelines. Moylan has been in the headlines for the wrong reasons, whether it’s breaking team protocol or looking at relinquishing the captaincy. Moylan’s form has been disappointing and his role in the team is confusing. Is he playing fullback or in the halves? The Wolf is expecting a massive game from Moylan if he can focus on playing fullback and let TeMaire Martin and Nathan Cleary direct the team around the park.
Stats That Matter
Parramatta are 3-4 ATS with a 4-3 total record while Penrith are 2-5 ATS with a 5-2 under record. Penrith won both Western Derby clashes last year by margins of two and four with the last four matches decided by a single score. No team has won three straight since the Panthers in 2011-12. The Eels have covered 7 of their last 9 at ANZ while they have gone under in 10 of their last 14 at the ground. Penrith are 2-3 ATS since 2014 at the ground with a 4-1 under record. Parramatta have covered 6 of their last 8 day matches while Penrith have covered 5 of their last 10 day matches. Since 2008 road favourites who scored single digits are 19-25 ATS. Penrith are 17-11 ATS on the road off a loss of 13-plus. The under strikes at 58% when a small home underdog is off a win.
Final Thoughts
This is shaping up as a toss of the coin match, but The Wolf is putting his neck on the line and backing the desperate Panthers, who MUST win this clash to get their season on track. Keep an eye on late team news, but if Bryce Cartwright is a late inclusion, it gives the Panthers a huge boost in a crucial match.
How It’s Shaping Up
Penrith by 2
Best Bet
Penrith ($1.65)

Other Recommended Bets
Under 38.5 ($1.88)

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